I started this outfit last summer and ta-da! It’s done 8 months later! As I continue delving into my UFO sewing collection, this one is the latest to become a wearable garment, or in this case — an outfit!
I used Simplicity 1261, a vintage peasant blouse and skirt pattern from the 1940’s. The blouse has raglan sleeves and a drawstring neckline. I chose view 1 as my base, omitting both the lace on the edges of the sleeves and inserting narrow elastic rather than ribbon in the casing of the neckline. The pattern is rather small, so I re-sized it from a bust 30″ to a bust 48″ using the slash and spread grading technique. I also made the sleeves longer as is my preference.
The blouse is made of a black cotton batiste and I sewed the garment together using French seams before beginning the embroidery. I took a swatch of my skirt fabric with me to Joann’s and picked out colors that matched it. The embroidery is similar to my 1950’s embroidered peasant dress, and is done freehand. I embroidered my favorite pansies and very much enjoyed using these colors and mixing-and-matching them in different patterns.
I was really slow with getting the embroidery done on this. As I said, I started this eight months ago, working on it off-and-on until about October, when I put it away. I took it out again a few weeks ago and finished it up. I really do love doing embroidery, so I’ll be starting another embroidered project soon. This time I’m going to use a design transfer, so that will be something a little different for me!
As the skirt for this pattern is just a simple “dirndle” style skirt with two rectangles and a waistband, I didn’t bother grading up the 25″ waist. Instead, I cut the fabric to my desired length/width and made a waistband to fit my waist.
The skirt is made of Alexander Henry Frida La Catrina border print fabric in a dark aubergine. Stonemountain & Daughter posted this fabric on their Instagram feed and I was so obsessed with it, that I stopped by their store to purchase it the next time I was in Berkeley. The fabric came before this outfit as I pondered for a little while what to make with it before deciding on this 1940’s outfit.
I believe I purchased 2 1/2 yards of this fabric. If I wanted to make a fuller 1950’s style skirt, I probably would have bought twice that amount, but for a 40’s skirt, I didn’t need as much. I used an invisible zip on one of the side seams and sewed with a narrow seam allowance as I attempted to have as less of a break in the border print as I could.
I wanted a very narrow hem on this skirt so that I didn’t swallow up too much of the print. I sewed rayon seam binding along the hem, using it like hem tape, to achieve this.
I had had the skirt cut out after I sewed the peasant blouse together before I began work on the embroidery. After I finally finished the embroidery, this outfit — with the exception of the skirt hem — was completed in an afternoon. When it was done, I had to put it on and prance around the house. It really is a satisfying make.
I wanted to take some photos by our Bird of Paradise plant, but it’s in a bad location for photos, so I cut one off and posed with it. It matches my outfit perfectly. 🙂
The first pictures I took (the last four pics of me in this post were taken later) were out in one of our pastures. Some of the wildflowers are blooming and it would be a fantastic backdrop. Unfortunately, I waited a little too late in the day to take these and the sun was too bright, so I tried another location. I also had cows watching me, wondering what I was doing. Spring has apparently sprung as we await more much needed rain!
Now that I have this peasant blouse pattern traced and re-sized to fit me, I plan on making a few more. I’m not certain if there will be another embroidered blouse in my future, but I do plan to make my next one with rick-rack and ribbon in the neckline casing. Perhaps one with a ribbon trim, too. The only thing I will change about the pattern is to lengthen the top about 2″. It’s fine with my high waist tucked into a skirt, but it is a little short if I planned to wear it un-tucked with shorts or jeans.
I am super elated about this outfit. My only problem is that it may be a little costume-y wearing both pieces together. I love retro fashions to the core, but I like to make them more modern and less like a pin-up or like I’m dressed for Halloween. It might seem as if I’m trying to be a Mexican senorita, of which I am neither. So, I will probably fix that by wearing this skirt with a plain knit tee and the blouse with a different skirt. I’d actually like to make a skirt with a ruffled hem like the one on the pattern envelope. That’s not to say that I won’t wear this complete outfit, as I definitely will! It’s just probably something I would be more likely to wear whilst in the Bay Area or on the coast, rather than where I live in the foothills.
I do have some extra fabric which was on the other end of the border print. It has skulls and hearts and neat things like that. I have some of that on the waistband of the skirt, but not much of it is showing. I’m thinking about making a purse and using pieces of that fabric to applique on it. Isn’t Alexander Henry fabric so cool?
Also, here’s one knocked off for my vintage pattern pledge!
- Blouse: Vintage Simplicity 1261 in cotton batiste, made by me
- Skirt: self-drafted in quilting cotton, made by me
- Shoes: J. Crew
- Earrings: Bauble Bar
- Hair Flower: VeeVee Vintage on etsy